Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

This year, don't forget to LOOK UP! (From APOD)

The Sky in Motion
Credit & Copyright: Video: Till Credner, (The Sky in
Music: túrána hott kurdis by hasta la otra méxico!

Explanation: Still need to come up with a good new year's resolution? Consider one appropriate for 2009, the International Year of Astronomy; just look up -- experience, learn, and enjoy the changing sky. This 4-minute, time-lapse video is composed from a series of 7,000 images highlighting much of what you could see. Arcing through the sky in a stately reflection of planet Earth's own rotation are Moon, Sun and stars. But the sequence also features satellites and meteors streaking overhead, clouds moving along the horizon changing in a beautiful iridescence, and beaming crepuscular rays.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The "War on Terror"

In light of the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, which I have tried for several days not to comment on, I have this to say about the so-called "War on Terror" by the American Empire and it's allies. This is not a war on terror but a war between terrorists. Israel and the American Empire engage in terrorism every time they bomb civilians and claim they "really didn't want to slaughter women and children but the evil terrorists made them do it by not surrendering." Bah! Hamas is a pack of terrorists, but then so is the IDF. The same goes for the American Empire and it's ongoing attempts to colonize Iraq and Afghanistan. A pox on all of them! We have no business being there and it does nothing good for our own homeland and people.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

British Atheist Promotes Missionary Work in Africa?

Thanks to Anthony Sacramone over at Strange Herring for this article. Matthew Parris, an avowed atheist who grew up in Africa and lives in England has a lot to say about changing things in Africa and concludes with this:

"Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete."

Read the whole article here, it's not that long and it's amazing to hear an honest and open atheist for once. You know, one who's not claiming silly things like "all evil in the world is caused by religion!" or "even the good religious people do is counteracted by their belief in gods!" Pretty cool article all told. Actually I can't quite figure out why he's an atheist, other than he just doesn't want there to be a God. Though Parris neglects to mention Islam I would state that Islam doesn't have the same effect on people as Christianity, it's just as bad as the tribal mind set. Not just any God will do, it takes the One True God, the Triune God of Christianity.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Clean" coal

I recently took part in a poll on energy issues and was asked about what I thought of "clean coal". I stated that I didn't like the idea and didn't really think it was possible for coal to be clean. I think I might have actually understated the evils of coal:

Sadly this doesn't look very clean to me. Click on the photo to go to the New York Times story on this massive coal ash spill.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Better said than I said it

Gene Veith posted about Mass as well, and said it better than I did, so I'm passing his on as well:

Put the “mass” back in “Christmas”

The word “Christmas” refers to the birth of Christ, of course, but more specifically it denotes the worship service–more than that, the Communion service, the “mass”–that marks that event. So as we put Christ back in Christmas, let us also put mass back in Christmas. In other words, let’s go to church!

In the Biblical measure of time, the new day starts on the preceding evening (”the evening and the morning were the second day”), which means that Christmas Eve is really Christmas. (So it’s OK if that’s when your family opens presents!) So going to a Christmas Eve service counts. But there is nothing more meaningful than a communion service on Christmas day.

Sadly, many, and maybe most, Protestant churches have abandoned holding Christmas services. In fact, when Christmas fell on a Sunday a few years ago, many churches cancelled their Sunday services! But, contrary to the excuse given for that travesty, Christmas is not just a time for family; it is a time for worshipping the Incarnate God, and doing so with your family is especially valuable.

If your church does not have a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service, visit one that does.

My pastor said that Lutherans and the Catholics are about the only ones who have Christmas services anymore. I want to emphasize that I do not intend this blog to be for and about Lutheranism, nor am I trying to talk people into joining my church. But if you attend some other church, this would be a chance to visit a Lutheran congregation. You may have never seen an evangelical Protestant liturgy drawn straight from the Bible, and I suspect you would find it at least an interesting and different approach to worship. You can see what the fuss on the blog is often about.


Rev. Bill Cwirla posted this today:


a poem for Christmas Eve

Welcome little One

Lying there on manger bed of straw

Nursing peacefully on virgin mother’s milk.

Warrior, enmity-maker, serpent’s head crusher,

It’s your natal night, and we bid you welcome.

Welcome little Promised One

Virgin offspring, unspotted by Adam’s primal sin

Death-destroyer, darkness conquerer

Your only weapon is your weakness,

Your victor sign - a cross.

Welcome Sin-bearer,

Unashamed in Adam’s nakedness

Swaddled in our embarrassment at trading fellowship with You

For a Lie that said we could be like You .

Yet you are not ashamed to be like us.

Who would have known to look at You,

So weak and helpless

That You are the ancient Promise?

Humanity’s Head and God’s image restored -

Mystery hidden, at last we see You.

Who would have known to look at You,

All helpless at your birth

That You are Light and Life

Holding the cosmos in hands

Soon to be pierced for our transgressions?

Welcome holy Infinite

Creator of the Universe, Lord of all

Who left the brightness of heavenly splendor

To make your dwelling place among us

And walk again with us in the cool of the day.

Welcome tender Lamb

Unblemished by our prideful arrogance,

Passover - by whose sprinkled blood we walk in freedom

Holocaust - sin-sacrifice for the world

Heel bruised for our healing.

Welcome little Savior,

The darkness trembles at your Name,

Devils shudder at the sound of your infant cooing,

While we wonder at such wondrous love,

That made you be one of us.

©2004, William M Cwirla

Put the Mass back in Christ-mass!

Go to Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or better, go on both! :-)

Let's all remember what the day is all about, that Jesus Christ was born as a babe, not to look cute and cuddly and make us feel all warm and fuzzy, but to live a perfect life and die for us so that we might not die as we deserve but have eternal life with Him!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Electric Pickle

So, our building engineer yesterday called us up to his office to see the glorious electric pickle. "Don't try this at home" he said... "only at work" :-) The electric pickle is strange, smelly and sort of cool:

This page has video of an electric pickle, along with an explanation of what's going on.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rowan Williams misses the point

Put aside your principles and remember: all you need is love

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says the first Christmas changed how everyone thinks about universal human dignity.....

How can a supposedly Christian Bishop go through this whole article on Christmas and never once mention the reason Christ came? All you need is love indeed. Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins and to save us from hell, not to show us how to be "nice."


I laughed out loud so I must share...

The Mom Song

I got this via a homeschooling email list, it's truly awesome.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Bailout

Thanks to Dan at Necessary Roughness:

Nasty North Beach Pizza

It takes a lot of effort to make a pizza I don't like. I've liked almost every pizza I've ever eaten! But North Beach Pizza in San Francisco has done the job. I ordered pizza from them today and it took 2 hours to arrive, was half cooked, luke warm and stuck to the paper in the box... nasty! I would have sent an email complaining but they don't have an email address on their web site, so here I am griping. Don't buy North Beach Pizza, it sucks. They were good at one time but no more. This is the second time I've had bad pizza and worse service from them.

St Thomas +Apostle and Martyr+

Today, December 21, is the day the church traditionally remembers St. Thomas, or as we sometimes call him, Doubting Thomas. There is a good summary of what we know of Thomas on Aardvark Alley here.

Last night was the Children's Christmas Program at Messiah, it was wonderful as always to hear and see the young children re-telling the story of the Nativity of our Lord in word and song. :-) Serenity had a little solo part and did quite well. Lora took a couple of photos and a short video that I don't have access to at the moment, if I can get them I'll post them up here as soon as I can. Serenity as an angel is just too cute!

The night before last we had a "block party" of sorts outside at the entrance to the court. Our neighbor Chip provided, and poured generously, some sort of peppermint schnapps that we mixed with hot chocolate. It was only after I drank it that I discovered that it was 100 proof :-) Yikes, that hot chocolate had quite a kick I'll tell you! It was very cold out but we all felt quite warm as we stood in the street and drank hot chocolate and traded stories and ate cookies. I was most uncharacteristically sociable that night.

Oh yes, and happy solstice to you all, at least now the days will begin getting longer again, though the warmth will be delayed a while as usual.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

School or prison

...or is there really a difference? I don't actually see one, involuntary confinement, loss of freedom, extreme boredom... death...

Children forced into cell-like school seclusion rooms

  • Story Highlights
  • Mentally disabled, autistic kids injured, traumatized in school seclusion rooms
  • 13-year-old Georgia boy hanged himself in room with cord teacher gave him
  • Autistic Iowa girl confined in school storage closet where she pulled out her hair
By Ashley Fantz

MURRAYVILLE, Georgia (CNN) -- A few weeks before 13-year-old Jonathan King killed himself, he told his parents that his teachers had put him in "time-out."
The room where Jonathan King hanged himself is shown after his death. It is no longer used, a school official said.

The room where Jonathan King hanged himself is shown after his death. It is no longer used, a school official said.

"We thought that meant go sit in the corner and be quiet for a few minutes," Tina King said, tears washing her face as she remembered the child she called "our baby ... a good kid."

But time-out in the boy's north Georgia special education school was spent in something akin to a prison cell -- a concrete room latched from the outside, its tiny window obscured by a piece of paper.

Called a seclusion room, it's where in November 2004, Jonathan hanged himself with a cord a teacher gave him to hold up his pants. Video Watch Jonathan's parents on their son's death »

An attorney representing the school has denied any wrongdoing.

Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that along with the death of Jonathan, many mentally disabled and autistic children have been injured or traumatized...

...Disability Rights California, a federally funded watchdog group, found that teachers dragged children into seclusion rooms they could not leave. In one case, they found a retarded 8-year-old had been locked alone in a seclusion room in a northeast California elementary school for at least 31 days in a year.

"What we found outrageous was that we went to the schools and asked to see the rooms and were denied," said Leslie Morrison, a psychiatric nurse and attorney who led the 2007 investigation that substantiated at least six cases of abuse involving seclusion in public schools.

"It took a lot of fighting to eventually get in to see where these children were held."

CNN asked every school official interviewed if a reporter could visit a seclusion room and was denied every time.

Please go to CNN and read the whole ghastly thing here.

The Big Picture

The Boston Globe has an on-line feature called "The Big Picture" that often has very cool photos, here is the lead photo from "The Year 2oo8 in photographs" Wow...

Lightning bolts appear above and around the Chaiten volcano as seen from Chana, some 30 kms (19 miles) north of the volcano, as it began its first eruption in thousands of years, in southern Chile May 2, 2008. Cases of electrical storms breaking out directly above erupting volcanoes are well documented, although scientists differ on what causes them. Picture taken May 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Carlos Gutierrez)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It's cold outside. Actually it's cold inside as well, at least here in the lobby of the tower. Our building engineer worked on the heat today and there is at least a slight detectable warming of the air, or maybe it would be more accurate to say a lessening of the bitter cold! It's 41 degrees outside and windy... brr. I did notice the other day that Father Hollywood was talking about the Sneaux! they got and about how seldom it snows in New Orleans. I checked it out and it snows twice in New Orleans for each time it snows in San Francisco. That doesn't stop it from getting cold here though, really we're suffering here...

I keep looking to the hills and expecting to see white but so far nothing. How can it be so cold and still not snow? Humph.

The weather service says it will be down into the 20's tonight, so if we do get any precipitation it will be snow. Yay... actually "ACK!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seeing is believing... or is it?

How Normal is your Brain?

Click on the image above and follow these directions:

If your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot, the dots will remain only one color, pink.

However if you stare at the black ' + ' in the center, the moving dot turns to green.

Now, concentrate on the black ' + ' in the center of the picture. After a short period, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you will only see a single green dot rotating.

It's amazing how our brain works. There really is no green dot , and the pink ones really don't disappear. This should be proof enough, we don't always see what we think we see.

Thanks to my friend Tom for sending me this in an email. Pretty cool.

Wells Fargo

Due to the downturn in the economy Wells Fargo has gone back to a more basic system for moving money around downtown San Francisco.

Wells Fargo brought out their old stagecoach today, this is from the corner in front of our building at Montgomery and Washington Streets. If I'd known they were coming by I'd have brought my camera, cell phone photos are weak :-(

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Regulation Schmegulation

I've noticed that for the most part science types are raving left wing nuts. They won't admit it but it's clear it's all about the money, we have it, they want it, the government is the way they can get it. So it is a pleasure to hear Michael Shermer, the famous skeptic, being skeptical of the left wing mantra of "The economic collapse is all because of deregulation!"

Regulation Schmegulation

I feel better now...

Well, mostly :-) Later on today Lora got a visit from the local Government Indoctrination Center Guards... err... the school district representative, truant officer type person because someone in the neighborhood noticed Serenity is not in school. There was some scrambling about looking for the copy of the Private School Affidavit but she eventually found it, but only after calling me in a slight panic because she couldn't find it.

My head looks about like this right now....

Terror in the night... and the Power of Prayer II

From my journal, written as it happened:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 3:10:36 AM

Lora is missing. I do not know where she is. She left last night around 9:00 PM to go sing Karaoke at some local dive and when I woke up to go to the bathroom at 1:45 AM she was not at home yet. I tried to go back to bed but couldn’t sleep because it was 2:00 AM and closing time and I was worried. I tried calling her phone but it turns out she didn’t take it with her! Now it is very late, or early, and I’m beside myself with concern. I’m waiting a bit longer and then I will call the police, perhaps she merely got arrested for DUI or something and is not dead. Of course I doubt I’ll ever allow her to drive my car again, ever

3:26:53 AM

Now I don’t know if I’m more scared or pissed, actually I have to say that at this point scared is riding much higher than pissed. It’s to the point of “You better be dead already cause I’m gonna kill you if you ain’t.” Rapidly swinging emotions, anger, fear, terror, anger. She is so never driving my car again, if she’s alive, it will be because she’s banned, if not… damn what a horrible thought! I sure hope I get to end up being pissed. I do not know what to do. I’ve been desperately praying for two hours now and nothing has changed. I’m going to shower and if I haven’t heard from her by 4:30 AM I’ll call the police.

4:04:40 AM

You think, “This can’t be happening to me…” but here I sit at 4:00 AM with Lora missing. She could be dead, or in jail, or injured, or out carousing. Who knows? Her phone sits uselessly in her bedroom. I sit uselessly in mine. I can’t even get in my car and go looking for her because she has my car.

4:22:34 AM

This is the hardest phone call I’ve ever waited to make. I think I’m going to throw up. Looking up phone numbers, Pleasanton Police Department, Dublin Police Department, emergency rooms...

4:37:53 AM

She is home. She is OK. Until I kill her later on today that is. She pulled into the driveway at 4:25 AM, so I didn’t have to call the police, she is OK, the car is OK, I’m OK. Thanks be to God!

So, the power of prayer II ;-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The real reason the economy collapsed

The Power of PRAYER!

Yep, these foolish amateurs praying over gas pumps back in July caused all of this. What did they ask for? Did they just say "Give us lower gas prices oh Lord?" Well yes, but they didn't consider the possible side effects or tell God just how He should bring these prices down. Seems that God heard their prayer and answered it in full, by crashing the economy! Voila! Lower gas prices.

That is why praying should be left to trained professionals, or if amateurs pray it should be done in the way our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us to pray "thy will be done," that way at least we know we will get what is best for us.

Silly fundies.

Our rosy future

Sovietizing the Economy: The Final Phase

“Insanity,” according to a famous definition, is a condition revealed by the habit of doing exactly the same thing repeatedly in earnest anticipation of a different result. A closely related form of derangement is megalomania, a prominent symptom of which is an individual’s self-exalting belief that he is the divine exception that can make that different result occur.

When it’s displayed in private pursuits, megalomania is a harmless if pitiable condition. When coupled with political power, it becomes the propellant of large-scale social experiments that ruin societies and kill people by the tens of millions.

Barack Obama suffers from an acute case...

...By waging two eminently avoidable and utterly disastrous wars abroad, and engaging in unprecedented domestic profligacy, George W. Bush and his cronies burned our economy to the ground. Obama and his comrades are now ready to sow salt and leave it entirely barren for a generation or more.

A must read, full text is here.

Christian - Pacifist - Anarchist

Ed commented on my previous post that the idea of Christian Anarchy is "the ultimate oxymoron."

Naturally I disagree :-) Honest Politician and Just War are right up there as far as I can tell.

To learn what Christian Anarchy is about you might start out here with Vernard Eller's "Christian Anarchy".

I don't agree with everything there, but I think he's got some really good points, there is some pretty interesting history as well. A Google search on Christian Anarchy will bring up quite a few other sources.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's in a label?

Homeschooling - Charter Schools - Unschooling - Worldschooling - life learning - whatever -

It seems to me that if you are teaching children at home you are, by definition, "homeschooling" so I don't see how one could deny the label "homeschooler" to anyone using charter schools to teach at home.

To me the fact that your children are at home rather than in the local government indoctrination camp (PS), while a good thing, does not seem quite as important as the fact that if the government controls, in any way, what you are doing it's not a good thing. When the government hands out money there are always strings attached and they always get tighter and tighter as time goes by.

I like the idea of "government free" schooling. Sort of like "cage free" chickens. Around here we have free range children... sort of... ;-) The charters seem to me to be a trick to lure people back under government control. I believe in "government free" *life*, but then I'm a Christian-Anarchist-Pacifist which assures that my opinion is in the minority no matter where I go. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Smack a Heretic Day!

From Strange Herring, the best news source ever, read it or else!

Yes, Virginia, There Was a Santa Claus, and He Used to Slap the Spit Out of Filthy Little Heretics Like You

205px-russian_icon_instaplanet_saint_nicholasFor the real scoop on the real Santa Claus, please read Herr Veith’s essay from 2005.

I, Martin Luther (Doktor), officially declare December 6, SMACK A HERETIC DAY.

Oh joy of joys! This beats a peasants war any day!

Hey, you! Yeah YOU! Come here! You look like a docetist with patripassian tendencies! (THWAP!) You’ll thank me later!

Via Herr McCain

Posted in Smack a Heretic You'll Feel Better, Stop Looking at Me Like That, The Sacred

Public School Programs Are Not Homeschooling

This is a pretty big issue with me as a near anarchist libertarian. Many of the "homeschoolers" I've met, not in SFBUNie events but elsewhere, use "charter schools" like Connecting Waters or California Virtual Academies (CAVA) and are very happy and glib as they describe the way they are spending thousands of my tax dollars. It's sort of irritating actually. They go through all the same testing as public school kids and we all know what a waste of time that is! For the most part they seem to be among the more traditional minded in terms of "teaching classes" to the kids and constantly measuring "progress." I don't imagine that there are or could be very many unschoolers (world schoolers?) in charter schools simply because of the accountability problems.

In any case, there is a good article here in Home Education Magazine, it gives a good overview of what the problem with government control of "homeschooling" really is.

Foodish thoughts

People who know me are aware that I drift back and forth over the food spectrum, from nearly complete carnivore during part of my "Atkins phase" all the way over to nearly complete Vegan during my "Low Fat phase." Right now I'm reading two books:
I have always been pretty repulsed by the idea of killing animals for my dinner, I've tried to get over that but the thought of killing really does bug me. Reading "The Ethics of What We Eat" has just served to make that worse. I hadn't realized just how brutal the treatment the vast majority of our food animals receive really is, and not just at the end when they are slaughtered, but the continuous misery they live in on factory farms. So I've decided I'm not going to eat meat or fish at all. If I'm not willing to kill it I can't justify my eating it. I doubt I'll go the whole Vegan route though, in a fairly short time this morning I did some research and found that there are a number of local sources for humanely produced dairy and eggs. Check out Wise Food Ways, and Organic Pastures for a start. These items, and honey too (Vegans don't eat honey because it's an animal product? Say what??), don't destroy the animals we get them from and the animals can be treated humanely during production, and since it is local I can go and check on it too. So, I won't need to totally give up all of those yummy things to do what I think is the right thing, although with the higher cost of the local, organic, free range production I imagine the amounts of this sort of food will be considerably reduced.

But I will be checking out a lot more Vegan recipes, eating lower on the food chain in general is a good idea for the planet I think, plus it's lower fat as a rule and that can't hurt one of my girth in the effort to reduce said girth... :-) I'm also focusing on trying to get local stuff as much as possible, reducing greenhouse emissions is helped some when your your produce travels 50 miles instead of shipping it 6,000 miles from South America.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Porpoise Driven

Unschooling report

Here is the stuff Serenity and I did this week that some people might think are somewhat schoolish, and some not as well.

On Wednesday we loafed around the house.

On Thursday Serenity had the first session of art class at Monart. She loved it!

We followed that up with a trip to El Cerrito where we met up with the SFBUNies for Perpetual Recess. Again, Serenity loved it. Perpetual Recess is to children what free range chickens are to poultry. No cages, just free range children :-) What it looks like is a big group of old hippies and their offspring :-)

From there we changed into our "fancy clothes" and headed over the Bay Bridge to the San Francisco Symphony where we heard "Lang Lang Plays Chopin" which was pretty good too!

Then today we went and met up with a big bunch of homeschooled folks at Whole Foods and had a tour of the various departments talking about things like what is organic, what does locally produced mean and what is cage free, that sort of thing.

Tomorrow is probably going to be going out to a Holidays in the Vineyards event at Mitchel Katz, and maybe other wineries.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Barry Bonds, Bambi Killer :-(

Bah, at one time I actually liked Barry, before I realized he was juiced with steroids and a Bambi Killer to boot! :-P~~~

Check out a video here.

Debates between Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens.

I look forward to seeing this. I think, maybe.

Of course I found this trailer through Strange Herring, the best news source ever!

Jenner Headlands - A bit of California coast has been preserved

This is the right way to do these things, private groups raising money and purchasing the land from the owners. Over 5,600 acres of prime coast lands have now been purchased by the Sonoma Land Trust. Heh, I'm amused to read in the article "Over the decades, visitors to the Sonoma Coast could only dream of hiking on Rule Ranch in the hills above Jenner, where cowboys still round up cattle on horseback." That is mostly true, though some people, back in the day, would just ignore those "No Trespassing" signs and duck through fences on land along the Northern California coast. There are amazing groves of Redwoods most people never get to see that I have hiked through, lush valleys and fantastic views, all seen "illicitly." I was always very careful not to damage anything or disturb anyone, but I was not going to allow a puny barbed wire fence and a rusty sign stop me from exploring. After all "It is more blessed to ask forgiveness than permission" has been my motto since childhood. In any case, this part of the coast is gorgeous and I'm really happy to see this happen :-)

Check out more photos here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Strange Herring on Nutrition

While I am seriously contemplating returning to my vegetarian ways after the Thanksgiving week binge of animal flesh and sugar, Anthony Sacramone has this to say about the whole subject over on Strange Herring, the worlds most reliable and unbiased source of news and commentary, read it or else!

‘Good’ Cholesterol Now Bad, ‘Bad’ Is Good: The Heavens Rage and America Scarfs One More Fat Burger for Spite

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Obama, Lincoln and other communists

The Lincoln Gambit

The Idol and the Avatar: Barack Obama, the second socialist politician from Illinois to elected President of the USA, borrows some mojo from the first.

"The president addressed Congress the other day. I don't know which was scarier -- the speech, or Congress cheering him on. He invoked Lincoln. Whenever a president is going to get us in serious trouble, they always use Lincoln." --

Victor Milson, space adviser to the U.S. president, reporting ominous news from home to his friend Dr. Heywood Floyd (who is in the vicinity of Jupiter); from the film 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

While it cares little for customary piety, our ruling Nomenklatura displays the intolerant fervor of Paradise-bound Jihadis in defending the sanctity of the Almighty State and its avatars. In that pantheon there is none holier than the martyred founder of the Second (or People's) American Republic -- Abraham the Almighty, whose sacred likeness sits in stoic majesty in the Imperial Capital's most celebrated pagan cathedral.

Despite the fact that the candidate had a background barren of worthwhile accomplishments and a political vita that could be inscribed on the note inside a fortune cookie, Barack Obama's followers -- most likely in the thrall of a campaign-generated meme -- routinely compared him to Jesus.

Lincoln, by way of contrast, wasn't deified in this fashion until
after his assassination. Now that he's scant weeks away from being garlanded with Caesar's crown and swaddled in the Imperial purple, the media's image-makers have joined in the chorus of deification, widely and shamelessly anointing him son and heir to Abraham the Divine...

......Shortly before his death, General Lee -- in a characteristically graceful reply to a kind note he'd received from Lord Acton -- explained that "the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people [were] the safeguard to the continuance of a free government." By suppressing the option of secession, which is the ultimate peaceful check on the ambitions of a central government, the North had destroyed that safeguard.

In words that have the undeniable heft of fulfilled prophecy, Lee predicted that "the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it."

Cast a look about you, ladies and gentlemen, and you'll behold the "ruin" of which Lee wrote. Those ruling us have pledged something in excess of $8 trillion -- more than half of this year's gross domestic product -- to provide a financial cushion for the politically connected criminals who preside over our financial system. In that fact we can see the real nature of the "Union" created by Lincoln: It is a forced marriage between the ignorant or deceived host and eager, esurient parasites.

The logic of Lincoln's triumph, wrote biographer Charles C.L. Minor, is that "the right to govern is paramount over the right to live, that man is made for government, rather thanthat government for man, and that for men to claim the right of self-government is to deserve and incur the death penalty." This is why the Power Elite exalts Lincoln's name above all others and celebrates him as the Holy State made Flesh.

Please read the rest here.

And best of all:

Wine vs. Beer

I heard this morning that Luther said something about lands where wine prevails are more cheerful than those that brew a lot of beer. As the bible says, "Wine gladdens the heart of man." (Psalm 104:14-15) While those who are drinking beer are bitter... makes a certain amount of sense. :-) Anyone have the actual quote?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Study: WMD Attack In U.S. Likely By 2013

Of course, when you are talking about terrorism, the one thing that you must NEVER EVER, under any circumstances even think about, let alone talk about, is why so many people are willing to die in order to attack our massive globe straddling Empire.

It is far better just to blather on about their methods or their tactics, we really don't care why there is an ever growing pool of people who say "It's worth it to die if only I can strike back at the American Empire."

(CBS/AP) The United States can expect a terror attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study briefed Tuesday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden. It suggests that the Obama administration bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists. "Our margin of safety is shrinking, not growing," states the report, obtained by The Associated Press. It is scheduled to be publicly released Wednesday. The commission also is encouraging the new White House to appoint one official on the National Security Council to coordinate exclusively U.S. intelligence and foreign policy on combating the spread of nuclear and biological weapons. The report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, led by former Sens. Bob Graham of Florida and Jim Talent of Missouri, acknowledges that terrorist groups still lack the needed scientific and technical ability to make weapons out of pathogens or nuclear bombs. It warns that gap can be overcome easily if terrorists should find scientists willing to share or sell their expertise. Full story is here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saint Andrew

Today is Saint Andrew's Day. This is the first commemoration of the Church year, Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus so I guess that is why he gets first place. The first Sunday in Advent is always the Sunday closest to St. Andrew's Day.

In the readings for today in the Treasury of Daily Prayer is this quotation passed on by Valerius Herberger spoken when Andrew was being martyred by crucifixion and had been on the cross for three days and his hearers wanted to take him down by force: "Ah, let God take care of it! Do not make the peace of the Gospel suspect by your unnecessary revolt against the government."

I guess that answers what Andrew thought about obeying the government even when it is very clearly wrong!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Children believe in God, even if they are not taught

From The Telegraph:

Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose. (Read full story)

What we have here is simply scientific confirmation of what we already knew through the revelation of God in Romans 1:20.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wish List has a feature called a wish list. I use it to store things I want to buy until I scrounge up enough money to get them. But you can use it to find something cheap to get me for Christmas that you can be sure I'll be thrilled to get! :-) Go to my actual blog page if you're reading this in email or a reader and it's on the right hand side at the top. Or click here. Why do I do this? In the past some people have spent gobs of money on stuff I really didn't want, or gave me gift cards or cash (we all know that's not much fun), sometimes for more $$ than I feel comfortable spending on books and stuff, this way everyone comes out ahead, I get a book I really want to read and whoever is giving me a Christmas gift doesn't have to shell out a bunch of cash. Win win. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Viva California! USA out of California Now!

Gene Veith points to a Russian who predicts the breakup the American Empire. Gene is somehow unaware of the dozens of secessionist movements in various states. Granted they are almost all small but still, they exist and this could be a good time for us. Those who know me already understand that I'm a California Nationalist who I doesn't think California should have joined those united States in the first place. Being a part of that empire just costs us money, we get nothing in return. These days we get to be hated by foreigners for being Americans and mocked by Americans for being Californians. Getting us out of the US yesterday would be a day too late as far as I'm concerned.

Doing my best?

As I was listening to Issues Etc. this morning, they were talking about judgment day, actually I'm still listening and riding in to work on BART right now, it came to me that many people, me included, tend to say things like "I'm doing my best for God." or "I'm doing the best I can with what I have." or whatever. It came to me that this is quite simply a lie, always and for everyone! If anyone actually did do their best they would be perfect and thus not in need of Christ's salvation. We all act out of selfishness, we all fail to put God first in all things, none of us loves our neighbor as ourselves, and if we think we do we deceive ourselves. (1 John 1:8-9) So, that is yet one more sin we need to repent of, the idea that "I'm doing the best I can." It is a lie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving :-)

My nephew Philip and his family via my mom... ;-)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

New Orleans Travel Guide

Father Hollywood, in a probably vain effort to keep the "Official" LCMS youth gathering away from his fair city offers a guide to New Orleans:

New Orleans is a cesspool. You should really think about going someplace safe by comparison: like Gary, Detroit, or Kabul. We have them all beat in violent crime. In fact, the murder rate is approaching 50%. You have as great a chance of being murdered in New Orleans as you do of flipping a "heads" on a coin. Think about that!

Also, keep in mind, New Orleans is utterly amoral. Every street corner has a drug dealer on it - openly selling crack and heroin. In fact, our pushers are not only violent and disease ridden, they are all naked lesbian voodoo priestesses who play the lottery and listen to heavy metal music.

You also have to watch out for the crazy Cajuns who cruise around the bayous of the Central Business District in piroughs and jeeps looking for dead animals to scrape off the road to make jambalaya (what do you think you're eating in those restaurants anyway?) It goes on for quite a while more and you will probably laugh right out loud a couple of times at least, I know I did :-)

Home Schooling Goes Mainstream

The Hoover Institution has a piece on how homeschooling is no longer a "fringe" phenomenon:

Everybody knows somebody who is teaching a child at home

“I never really told anybody about my music at school, only my really close friends,” Cheyenne Kimball told People Magazine in 2006. “Then [school officials] actually aired the show around the whole entire school, and that caused a lot of problems. I was a straight-A student and all of a sudden I didn’t want to go to school anymore because of the things people were saying. That’s why I’m homeschooled now.” Cheyenne, winner of NBC’s America’s Most Talented Kid at age 12, recording artist, and star of her own MTV show, is just one of many high-profile Americans whose educational choice is home schooling. (Read the rest here)

Happy "Somehow I ain't dead yet." Day! ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Angels Weep

Winter Patriot commented on my "I give up" post with a link to his post Angels Weep. It is a take on Romans 13 that I've secretly held for a long time... Paul, you must be joking! Ah, I get it, say nice things about them and maybe they won't kill us... maybe that explains it after all, it makes better sense than most takes, at least for me...

Chris Floyd's Empire Burlesque

Chris has the 2nd best news site out there, check it out.

Plus ça change: "Progressive" Leaders Ride War Machine Deeper Into Darkness

Armed with the same invincible ignorance and arrogance that have for generations led their imperial forbears to bitter defeat in Afghanistan, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown have both pledged themselves to a substantial escalation of the Anglo-American adventure in Central Asia. Thus these two self-proclaimed "progressive" champions of benevolent change are guaranteeing more of the same bitter fruit already produced by this misbegotten enterprise: more death, more ruin, more suffering, more corruption – and more violent extremism.

The latter, of course, is where we came in, with the Carter-Reagan marshalling of extremist jihadis -- known as "freedom fighters" in those days of yore -- to hotfoot the Soviets and their secular Afghan clients. Indeed, the entire arc of America's bipartisan policies in the region over the past 40 years can be seen as the elaborate construction of a gargantuan, self-propelled blowback machine, producing an endless effluent of violence, threat, chaos and crime that is now sluicing through the entire world. But blowback, as we all know, is not a design flaw of imperial policy, at least not for the most part; it is a design feature. No War Machine without perpetual war and rumors of war; no war profits – and no war powers – without the War Machine.

So perhaps we do wrong to criticize Obama and Brown, on policy grounds, for their intention to kill more civilians and kindle more hatred and sorrow in Afghanistan. After all, we are told over and over how very intelligent these two leaders are, how well-read, how penetrating, far-seeing and deep-delving they are, especially in comparison to their fatuous predecessors. The glaringly obvious folly – in human terms, and on the moral plane – of escalating the war in Afghanistan, and possibly expanding it into Pakistan, cannot have escaped such perceptive men. Therefore, we can only conclude that their policies, like those of their predecessors, are based on altogether different considerations, ones in which the lives of the Afghan people, and the genuine security of their own people, are of little concern.

For this is the hard truth – the blood-and-iron truth – that our age has taught us so well: war is always a win-win proposition for the corporate-militarist state that has devoured the American Republic. Even if the particular conflict itself ends badly or inconclusively, it always engenders vast profits and increased power and privilege for the corporate-militarist elite -- and the temporary managers they graciously allow the American people to "choose" from a rigorously sifted, highly circumscribed menu of "viable" candidates. So it doesn't matter if this war or that war is "ill-conceived" or "badly managed" or a "serious mistake" or "the wrong war at the wrong time," or if its public justifications are based on lies or ignorance or arrogance, or if it bankrupts the treasury, beggars the citizenry, and destabilizes the world. The small, golden, coddled circle still reaps dividends of profit and dominance.

Naturally, this kind of thing can't go on forever; history is replete with examples of imperial elites who eventually bled their nations dry and saw them fall into ruin or curdle into a fearful insignificance. But I think that those who believe – either hopefully or in despair – that the American empire will shrivel away anytime soon are badly mistaken. The war machine and the security apparatus are not shrinking; they are growing by leaps and bounds, and Obama has promised to make them even larger. The economic disaster doesn't threaten the position of the imperial elites at all. On the contrary, as we have seen in the last few weeks, the Obama-backed "bailout" plan has enriched the already rich and powerful to a staggering degree. As CNBC reports, the government has spent more on saving the rich from the consequences of their greed than it spent in winning World War II: more than $4 trillion so far, with much more to come. This astonishing theft – the largest gobbling of public loot by a rapacious elite in the history of the world – will only further cement the powerful in their entrenchments on the commanding heights of society. The nation may rot beneath them, may be roiled by storms of blowback; but that is not their concern, it is no defeat for them. You can lose; they do not.

This is not to say that our elites don't tell themselves any number of flattering, self-justifying fairy tales about the boundless nobility and righteousness of their intentions. They can do this because they identify the interests of the system of elite rule (and the comfort, power and privilege they personally receive from the system) with the common good of the nation, or the world, as a whole. This allows them to pursue truly monstrous policies without regarding themselves as monsters. This allows them to order actions, such as the escalation of the destructive, destablizing conflict in Afghanistan, which they know, with absolute certainty, will needlessly murder innocent women, children and men -- and still talk earnestly and sincerely about their hopes for peace, their concern for humanity, their deep, abiding faith in a loving God. But again, as we have said over and over here, what matters are not the rhetorical justifications of power or the stated intentions of power -- or the charisma, likeability or compelling story of the wielders of power; what matters are the operations of power, its actual effects on the human beings on the receiving end of its machinations. Like love, power is what it does, not what it says.

Any discourse that omits this perspective seems to me to be lacking in rigor and realism, and leaves one highly vulnerable to delusion and manipulation -- and complicity in evil.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's not easy being green

As Kermit says...

I used to ride my bicycle to the BART station, bring the bike on board the train and park it securely at work. Then BART "improved" it's service by "adding trains" in the evening, while cutting the number of cars per train to the point that I could not reliably get onto a train at 7:09 or 7:25 pm and instead had to wait until a later train to get home. So I decided to try parking at the BART stations instead. Which, as you will recall, resulted in the theft of my bike from the inside of the BART station. I gritted my teeth and continued riding to the BART station until a recent rash of vandalism to my bike. First my headlight was stolen. I bought a new one and made a special effort to remove it when I parked. Then the bracket to my headlight and a Velcro strap on my lock were ripped off. So I was reduced to holding my headlight, that I had removed that day, in my hand as I rode. The last straw was when my bike's seat was ripped off recently. At that point I finally gave up. I'm back to driving my car to the BART station, all because BART seems to deliberately discourages bike riding.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Government = Violence

What it comes down to is this, any law you propose states this, I will kill you if you do not agree to do "X." I say this because ALL laws say this. All. Jay walking is a "crime." So, what does that mean? It means if you jay walk you risk death at the hands of government enforcers. How so? You are accosted while jay walking by the local police. You say, "Buzz off bucko!" The cop says "you are under arrest!" You say "Not even." They attempt to restrain you and you resist, you are now "resisting arrest" and in the process of subduing you force will be used to make you to comply. The harder you resist the more likely "they" are to simply kill you.

All laws imply deadly force. All laws = the death penalty. Of course they won't say you are being killed for the "crime" of jay walking, but for resisting arrest or attempting to escape or whatever, but really it's the original "crime" you are being murdered over, smoking herbs, walking where they don't want you to or building a house without permission, all punishable by death if you don't bow down and submit.

Government is Violence.

More on Government = Violence

From by Pro Liberate (Dum spiro, pugno!)

Government, as we must never forget, is force. And as Simone Weil so memorably observed, force is that mysterious influence “that turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing. Exercised to the limit, it turns man into a thing in the most literal sense: it makes a corpse out of him.”

Every government function, no matter how mundane or apparently harmless, carries with it the implied (and often overt) use of lethal force against those who do not submit. Stefan Molyneux perceptively describes this as the principle of the “Gun in the room”: Whenever anybody refers to the supposed virtue of a given government undertaking, Molyneux sagely observes, the central question is not whether the end is desirable, but rather “whether I am allowed to disagree with you without getting shot.” (Full story here)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Best News Source Ever

The best news source ever is Strange Herring by Anthony Sacramone. He presents short headlines and quick, often acerbic comments on them. Check it out, or I'll come over to your house and nail your other foot to the floor.

I know...

...that I have no room to squawk about political screeds, after all I spew them all the time, but hey, I'm not claiming to be anything other than a screed spewing Angry Gnome anyway, it is what it is :-)

Never mind...

So, after my little "I hate political science posts" rant I did remove the general ScienceBlogs feed from my Google reader. Then I went through some of the blogs on ScienceBlogs and checked out how often they were spewing atheist commie baloney and subscribed individually to a bunch of them that very seldom had any political comments. So sorting is possible but excedingly tedious. I will doubtless miss a lot of good stuff from the guys/gals who spew so much AC that I can't be bothered to read their feeds, sorry to miss out on it but hey there's only so much time in the day.

Political Science

There is a blog site out there called that has some very good popularizing science blogs, places where you can go to read about the latest developments in numerous different fields from geology to astronomy to evolution. They have 73 different blogs and tens of thousands of posts have been written. Sadly the site is infected with a severe case of political science. Not science about politics, like studying elections and such, but "science" that serves political ends. The site is 100% atheist-socialist in outlook, meaning they were all gaga over Obama for one thing. All economic news is twisted into an argument for more government intervention. The most pathetic thing is that the most vehement of the atheist-socialist comments come from people who are not speaking in thier actual field but are commenting on politics as if a degree in Evolutionary Biology somehow gives one authority to pontificate about energy policy! I've tried as best I can to filter out the political crap and get to the science but it cannot be done. The site is hopelessly political and the science can't be filtered out without far too much work. If anyone knows of a decent science blog site not dedicated to preaching socialism and mocking religion, well I'd love to see it. For now, I'm unplugging my reader from thier feed, I go to science sites to read about science, I'll go to a political site to read politics and I have plenty of religious sites to read for spiritual thoughts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I give up.

Over the last couple of years I have made a huge effort to convince myself that the Lutheran view of government had some merit. I've read everything recommended by Lutherans on the subject but I just can't make myself believe it. I can't believe it because I am certain that it is, quite simply, wrong.

It is possible that I misunderstand the Lutheran position still, but I don't think that is the case. Lutherans teach that government is a blessing from God, a positive good. I think that this is wrong. In reality government is a curse and an evil. Even God warned Israel that a king (government) was a terrible idea that was against His will for them. (1 Samuel 8:4-19) We are certainly commanded in Romans 13:1-7 to obey and honor those in power over us, but in no place in the New Testament, at least no place that I'm aware of, is it even remotely implied that we ought to participate actively in any government, even less is it implied that we have some duty to participate in the actions of governments.

As Tolstoy said so eloquently "Government is Violence." Every law is backed by the armed might of government, resistance is met with violent force, always. Try it out if you don't believe it. If you remove violence from government, so that it is voluntary, you no longer have a government, instead you have a co-op. I'm all for co-ops of all sorts, they are a good way of getting things done that might be difficult to accomplish individually.

In my studies I've found a number of early church writings that imply or state outright that participation in government offices is incompatible with being a Christian. Some of that is related to the implicit idolatry that went with being a government official at the time, emperor worship was a big problem for them. In other places it was the act of killing for the government that was the stated problem. As far as I'm aware there are no writings, before Constantine, that express the idea that it is a good thing for a Christian to be a soldier or magistrate working for the government. It is only after Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire that it was suddenly OK to be a soldier and magistrate. That is the conclusion I've come to in the reading I've done.

As always I'm open to new information or new arguments, though I have not encountered anything new so far, it's all pretty old stuff.